Vatican City (Fides Service) - The Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI on 15 December 2005 established the diocese of Pekhon (Myanmar), with territory taken from the archdiocese of Taunggyi, making it suffragan of the same metropolitan see. The Holy Father appointed first Bishop of Pekhon (Myanmar) Bishop Peter Hla until now titular Bishop of Castello di Numidia and Auxiliary of Taunggyi.
The new diocese of Pekhon (nom. lat. Pekhonen/sis/) is in the southern part of the state of Shan in central east Myanmar. It borders to the north with the archdiocese of Taunggyi to the south west with the diocese of Taungngu and to the south with the diocese of Loikaw.
The diocese has an area of 25,890sq. km, a population of 450,000, including 37,194 Catholics, gathered in 8 parishes assisted by 22 diocesan priests and 1 religious priest, 41 women religious, 5 Brothers, 133 Catechists, 33 major seminarians and 75 minors. The church of Sacred Heart in Pekhon will be the cathedral. (S.L.) (Agenzia Fides 15/12/2005; Righe 56; Parole 282)